7:00 pm on Wednesday (30 Jul 2014)

John Amis Composer Portraits

We pay tribute to the BBC broadcasting personality who died last year, aged 91, with this series made in 1981 and recently re-mastered. Known to many through the My Music panel game, John Amis visited this country several times and recorded programmes for Radio New Zealand on two occasions. His experience working with and interviewing hundreds of musicians and composers made him a witty contributor, admired for his phenomenal musical knowledge and his ability to drop into the programme an appropriate and often hilarious personal anecdote whenever called upon. While the spoken content is contemporary to the 1980s, Amis's personal associations with each of the composers make his comments still very relevant thirty years later.

Five programmes

(2) Igor Stravinsky

Considered the world's greatest living composer at the time, Stravinsky came to New Zealand a little over 50 years ago and conducted our National Orchestra in two memorable performances, including music from The Firebird (RNZ)

Displaying audio 1 - 7 of 92 in total

  • Germans in Maoriland? (1) The Jolly German Band ( 50′ 54″ )

    German bands hit the world in their thousands during the 19th century and, as if there was something in the water, they all seemed to come from the same small area in Germany. Although forgotten today, German bands were frequent visitors to New Zealand's shores too, from the 1850s right up until the outbreak of World War I. Musicologist Samantha Owens and Shelley Wilkinson introduce us to some of these touring visitors and follow them around New Zealand.

    From Appointment on 24 Jul 2014

  • John Amis Composer Portraits - Percy Grainger ( 48′ 30″ )

    John Amis looks at the colourful and sometimes eccentric Percy Grainger, a world famous pianist, teacher and writer, who today is known mainly for his folk song arrangements. Recorded in 1981 (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 23 Jul 2014

  • Roger Flury ( 58′ 50″ )

    Just before returning to the UK after 40 years in New Zealand, Roger Flury (music librarian, historian and broadcaster) spoke with Des Wilson (RNZ).

    From Appointment on 17 Jul 2014

  • The Rite of Spring and its Polynesian Ancestry ( 46′ 27″ )

    Imagine The Rite of Spring composed as a haka, and a challenge, to the peers and audiences of its composer, Igor Stravinsky. We continue our celebration of The Rite of Spring's centenary with New Zealand author and musicologist Robin Maconie who brings a uniquely New Zealand perspective on Stravinsky's most famous work.

    From Appointment on 16 Jul 2014

  • Tristan and Isolde ( 53′ 53″ )

    Erica Challis takes us through Wagner's great opera ahead of the Auckland Philharmonia's concert performance on Saturday July 19 (RNZ)

    From Appointment on 10 Jul 2014

  • Pathetique ( 50′ 26″ )

    Thomas Goss looks at Tchaikovsky's sixth & last symphony as a snapshot of very busy, practical composer at the height of his craft, seeking new ways to intrigue and provoke his growing audience.

    From Appointment on 09 Jul 2014

  • Verdi & Shakespeare: From Tragedy to Comedy ( 59′ 45″ )

    A Verdi anniversary in 2013 (200) and a Shakespeare one in 2014 (450) prompts Elizabeth Hudson to examine the inspiration that the English playwright was for the Italian composer.

    From Appointment on 03 Jul 2014